GF Pork Tenderloin with a Rosemary, Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Reduction Sauce by Allison

Sundays sometimes call for a “Sunday Roast” as some of my British friends would say and I would have to agree! A piping hot meal with hearty and bold flavors feeds the soul as we gear up for the week ahead. Now while my “Sunday roast” doesn’t include mashed potatoes or gravy I think you’ll really enjoy it! I often set aside more time to cook on Sundays and cooking is so much more enjoyable when you’re not doing ten other things at the same time! So take some time to cook to enjoy and savor the flavors of whole food.

GF Roasted Pork with a Rosemary, Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Red Wine Reduction Sauce

Ingredients

4 pound pork roast
fresh rosemary springs (about 3)
Salt
Pepper
Red table wine
2 medium onions, sliced

Sauce

Coconut oil or butter
2 large onions, chopped
1.5 pounds of sliced button mushrooms
Fresh rosemary sprigs ( about three)
Red table wine, reduced
Juices from the pork

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and sear the pork tenderloin on each side over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side depending on the thickness. This process helps keep the meat juicy during the baking process. Place in a large baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Remove rosemary from the stem and place on top of the roast. Pour about a cup and a half to two cups of red wine in the bottom of the pan and add sliced onions in the wine and around the pork roast. Cover with foil and cook approximately two hours or until the meat thermometer reads 155 degrees Fahrenheit, let rest for 10 minutes before you slice it.

After the pork has been cooking for a little over an hour, you can start the sauce! Reduce two cups of wine over medium low until you have about 1/3 of a cup. While you start reducing the wine you can chop onions and add them to a frying pan to begin caramelizing over medium heat. Slice the mushrooms and add them after onions begin to brown a little bit, about 10-12 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp salt and stir mixture, cook another 5-8 minutes and add rosemary leaves ( I like to cut them with a scissors and add them right in after I take them off the stem). Add reduced wine and let simmer on low. When the pork is finished, add the juices and onion from the baking dish to the sauce and let simmer until desired consistency ! Slice pork and serve with sauce on top! Enjoy!!

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Huevos Rancheros w/ sweet potatoes and black beans! By Nikki

Vesle Vanoce

Vesle Vanoce

I have spent the winter holiday at home in Prague, and despite not being with my family either in Oregon or New Zealand, it has been very Christmas-y and relaxing. I have had a good friend visiting from Frankfurt and after a few days in the Czech mountains, we found ourselves very busy baking, cooking, and planning our two holiday days with friends.

rejuvenating in the mountains

rejuvenating in the mountains

On December 23, I made two types of fudge: chocolate and Bailey’s Irish cream. Both flavors were sweet and yummy and taste so great with a cup of coffee in the morning or a cup of tea in the evening! Thankfully the weather has been unseasonably warm. No snow, no ice, and not too cold to run outside… this is helping me run off the daily fudge intake! In addition to ample time spent in our pajamas, watching Christmas movies and singing to Christmas songs, we have been enjoying lots of good food and some Czech culture as well.

On Christmas eve, we went out to the village for a brunch and gift exchange. A created stuffed mushrooms with walnuts, lentils, and cranberries- a made up recipe that was a hit with the other brunch goers! Upon request, I made enchiladas. These are always a hit with the crowd no matter if they are served for brunch, lunch or dinner! I make my own sauce as you cannot just pick up a couple cans of Old El Paso in the local Albert! Knowing there would be a number of vegetarians at the brunch, I chose to stuff the enchiladas with a sweet potato, black bean and corn mixture.

sweet potato, black bean and corn

sweet potato, black bean and corn

This is always a winning combo for a Southwest or Mexican style recipe. And easy to create. Saute one white onion (chopped), 1 clove of garlic (diced), 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of dried (or fresh) coriander/cilantro leaves and 1 tablespoon of oil. Add 2 chopped sweet potatoes and cook until slightly firm. Add 1 can of black beans and 1 small can of corn to mixture and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix until well coated and remove from heat.

The best part of this concoction was using the leftovers! For our Boxing day breakfast on December 26, I made Huevos Rancheros- one of my favorite Mexican breakfast dishes.

leftovers are good

leftovers are good

I filled the leftover corn tortillas with the sweet potato, black bean mix, diced jalapenos, and topped these with shredded, cheddar cheese. I baked these in the oven at 150 degrees C for about 10 minutes. At the same time, fry 1-2 eggs in a hot pan on the stove top. After removing the tortillas from the oven, place one (or two) a plate and slide the egg(s) on top. (I usually put one egg on top of each tortilla.)

Huevos Rancheros with a sweet potato twist!

Huevos Rancheros with a sweet potato twist!

Top with fresh, diced tomato, avocado, Cholula hot sauce (like we did) or top with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, fresh cilantro (Coriander) or anything else you like to eat with Mexican food! Whatever you choose to top your huevos with… enjoy them!

Cranberry Pear Pecan Coffee Cake

Cranberry Pear Pecan Coffee Cake

Cranberry Pear Pecan Coffee Cake

My mom LOVES pecans. When she comes to visit and I happen to be baking, she never fails to ask if pecans were added to the mix. If my mother could, she would dump cups and cups of pecans into every bowl of batter. I like pecans too, but I’m not one to get too nutty over it.

A quick peek at Union Square Market, NYC

A quick peek at Union Square Market, NYC

During my latest visit to NYC, I got a chance to stroll through Union Square Market. A few minutes into my walk,  several tables stocked with fresh ruby cranberries quickly captured my attention. In the Czech Republic, cranberries usually appear with a dish as a sauce for fried cheese, roast duck or as dried cranberries sold in packages. I have yet to cross paths with a barrel of the fresh kind in any of the markets or major grocery stores.  Although they weren’t on my grocery list, I couldn’t resist bringing a huge bag of these luscious dark red cranberries home. I did however, hold back from running my fingers through the deep baskets of berries. My 2-year-old daughters would have loved that!

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On the train ride back, I started to think about what to do with so many cranberries. I wanted something easy, moist and to have on hand for breakfast. When I got to my parents’ home, my daughters were still napping, so I sneaked in some internet time. After a bit of surfing, I found a recipe that called for cranberries, pears and buttermilk. I could sense that this cake would satisfy my craving for a moist cake to go with my morning coffee.

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Gathering up my baking tools and ingredients, my mom popped into the kitchen. “Are you going to bake?” she asks.

“Yep,” I replied, knowing exactly where this conversation was headed.

“Is there going to be pecans? Will it be a crunchy cake?” she asks.

“Of course, Ma,” I answered back immediately, even though I knew the original recipe didn’t include pecans.  So, here’s my version inspired by my mom’s passion for pecans.

photo-2Cranberry-Pear Pecan Coffee Cake

(adapted from Taste of Home)

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large pear, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk, butter and vanilla.

Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Fold in the pear, cranberries, 1/2 cup of pecans and orange peel.

Transfer to a 9-in. spring form pan coated with cooking spray and dusted with flour.

Combine brown sugar, remaining sugar and 1/2 cup of pecans.

Sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

My Grandma’s English Toffee by Allison

The taste of the holidays is different for all of us. For someone it could be cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning,or latkes during Chanukah, a Christmas ham, British mince pies, roasted lamb, gingerbread cookies or even English toffee. For me, it is English toffee , hands down and there’s no competition. The toffee only made an appearance on Christmas Eve and it was certainly a special treat. My Grandma B was the candy maker in our family. She spoiled us with her creamy caramels, peanut butter balls, heavenly fudge, and peanut brittle. These delights would be served on tiered trays that were strategically placed around her festive house. I always told her she could sell her toffee as it was just so incredibly delicious. It wanted to learn how to make it so I spent the night at her house one evening my freshmen year of college and she showed me her tricks and luckily I still remember them with a few pointers from my aunt!

First, you have to have a heavy aluminum pan and a good candy thermometer before you set on the toffee making mission!

An optional ingredient is liquid lecithin which you can purchase as at health food store. I always use it and it works well for me.

I’ve tried making it on an electric stove and have failed every time as the butter and sugar have separated on me much to my dismay! The gas stove does the trick for me as it keeps even and consistent heat throughout the cooking process.

Second, butter a cookie sheet and have it ready as you will need to stir the mixture all the way up until it reaches the correct temperature and pour it right in the pan.

Grandma’s English Toffee

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1cup unsalted butter (good quality works best)
3 Tbsp filtered water
1 1/2 tsp liquid lecithin

1 tsp vanilla extract
4 – 8 ounce chocolate bars ( gluten free chocolate or your favorite chocolate)
slivered almonds for the top, approximately 1 Cupid

Combine sugar, butter, water & lecithin in a heavy aluminum pan over medium low to medium heat. Stir constantly ( I mean constantly for about half an hour. The trick is to be patient and let the temperature rise gently adjusting g the heat as necessary until the candy thermometer reads 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and add vanilla and pour in buttered 9×13″ pan. Lay chocolate bars on top and when melted, spread evenly. While still warm, spread or sprinklecombine sugar, butter, water & lecithin in heavy pan & cook tp 280-300 stirring to keep from burning. remove from heat and add vanilla and pour in buttered 9×9 pan. Lay bars on top and when melted, spread evenly. While still warm, spread or sprinkle with choped pecans;. Cook and break into pieces. with slivered almonds. Cool and break into pieces with the tip of a knife.

There’s always room for a new favorite that can be added to your holiday feasts to share with family and friends!

Enjoy!!

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Fresh Vegetable Stock by Nikki

it smells sooooo good

it smells sooooo good

Here I go again, sharing my homemade stock creations with you! But I just have to because this one was given the A+ by my good friend MM. You see, I have a number of friends who are vegetarians. I love these people so much that when it was time to host a second Thanksgiving dinner at my flat, I made a fresh vegetable stock to use in place of chicken stock in the Thanksgiving stuffing. Changing the stock to accommodate my friends was no big deal, and I know I didn’t have to do this for them, but I am so thankful for their love and support that it was my pleasure to experiment with this recipe. Here is a little secret for you, I made up the recipe as I went along. So for the first time, I will post this as my own recipe… although I am sure there are plenty of other veggie stock recipes out there with the same or at least similar methods and ingredients!

You can use this stock as a vegetarian base for your favorite soup and as a substitute for meat stocks in other recipes.  But unlike making your own meat based stocks, you can use the leftover veggies! Yep, this is a WHOLE food recipe- no wasting! After removing the bay leaves from the mix, I pureed the veggies in my food processor. After this cooled, I froze this thick vegetable puree to use in a quiche or stew later this winter… If this was a Facebook post I would end it with… feeling accomplished!  Give it a try and enjoy!

fresh veggies

fresh veggies

Vegetarian Stock

(This recipe is all mine!)

ingredients: 8 carrots, 1 bunch of celery stalks, 2 red onions, 2 white onions, 1 bunch of fresh parsley, 5 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon dried sage    optional: fresh peppers, potato, and/or parsnip

directions: Chop all vegetables and throw into a large soup pot with 4-5 cups of water. Add spices and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to medium low and let the stock bubble gently for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain stock through a sieve into a different large soup pot (for immediate use) or large bowl for cooling.

Note: Stock should stay fresh in for one week in the fridge and also freezes well in ice cube trays!

cook for 2-3 hours

cook for 2-3 hours

 

 

GF and Fabulous Jalapeno Bites with a Sweet and Spicy Dip by Allison

Well let me tell you first off that I don’t have a picture of the final product unfortunately, these yummy bite-sized delights just disappeared too fast for me to even grab my camera! True story! This recipe all started when my Mom and I stopped at a bistro after a day of running errands for a bite to eat in the early afternoon. It all started with the Jalapeno bites and they were good, but we both decided we could make them even better! So we tried it out and I’ve made them many times for friends since the summer and they are always a big hit. I roast the halved jalapenos at 175 degrees Celsius for about 10-12 minutes, then I take them out of the oven and place a thick chunk of sharp white cheese down the center and wrap it with 1/2 a slice of gluten-free prosciutto. Then pop them back in a slightly cooler oven (130 degrees Celsius) oven for 8-10 more minutes until cheese begins to melt and prosciutto begins to crisp up a bit. You can make the dip while the jalapenos are roasting the first time!

jalapenos

jalapenos, sliced in half and deseeded (however many you’d like, I usually like to roast at least 10-12)

sharp white cheese

gluten-free prosciutto (can be found at Tesco in the packaged meat section)

For the Sweet and Spicy Dip

adapted from food.com

Ingredients:

1/3 cup  Hellmann’s light mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp oregano

2 tsp honey, warmed slightly

jalapenos (however many you’d like, I usually like to roast at least 10-12)

sharp white cheese

dip

Enjoy!

Perfect Pumpkin Pecan Pie Squares by L

Pumpkin and pecans sharing the spotlight!

Pumpkin and pecans sharing the spotlight!

This is a two-for-the-price-of-one recipe. If you’re a fan of pumpkin pie AND a fan of pecan pie, imagine them both together! Did you? Can you picture all that sweet yumminess together? Well, that’s exactly what you get with this recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Pie Squares.

So happy together!!!

So happy together!!!

My mom was cleaning out some of her kitchen cupboards and found a number of tattered recipe cards. She asked me to take a look at them, just in case something caught my eye. Otherwise, they were all heading out to the recycling bin. Halfway done with the stack, this recipe caught my eye. How could I go wrong with a combination of pumpkin and pecan pie? I didn’t. Best of all, the steps were so easy to follow and this will surely be added to my list of favorite autumn desserts to bake!

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Squares (adapted from my mom’s cupboard)

Crust:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup old fashioned or instant oats

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine

Filling:

1/2 cup of granulated sugar (3/4 if you prefer something sweeter)

1 3/4 cups of pumpkin puree

1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk

2 large eggs

2 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Topping:

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Pre heat oven to 180C/350F  degrees

Combine flour, oats, brown sugar and butter in small bowl. Beat at low speed or blend with fork or hands until crumbly. Then press onto an ungreased baking pan, 13X9 in.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Combine the sugar, pumpkin, milk, eggs and spice in large mixing bowl.

Beat at medium speed 1 to 2 minutes, pour over crust.

Bake 20 minutes.

Combine pecans and brown sugar in small bowl.

Sprinkle pecan topping over filling.

Continue to bake for 15-25 minutes or until fork or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely before serving.

Best if served with some fresh whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!